Birmingham & Black Country

Black Country food bank vouchers bid to cut crime

The food bank
Image caption Black Country Food Bank said PCSOs were using its food vouchers to help prevent shoplifting

People at risk of shoplifting food in parts of the Black Country are being given food vouchers by the police in an attempt to cut crime.

The Black Country Food Bank said it was working with West Midlands Police and the probation service.

Its founder Wendy Fryatt said police community support officers (PCSOs) were now using its food vouchers as a "preventative measure".

Police said Christmas was expected to be a busy period for shoplifting.

Across the UK, the Centre for Retail Research said more than £500m of goods was expected to be lost to shoplifters in the run up to Christmas.

'It's prevention'

Ch Supt Sally Bourner said West Midlands Police was working closely with businesses to cut shop crime.

Thefts across the force area were down by 6% in November, with 26 of those involving stealing food.

In Solihull, she said shop thefts had been cut by almost 25% last month, partly due to partnerships with local businesses and with the local food bank.

Ms Fryatt said: "Police do whatever they have to do, whether that's charging people or whatever.

"The difference is now, especially PCSOs on the streets have access to our vouchers. So if there's someone they spot or suspect to be at risk, it's prevention."

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